I think I just end up sitting in all the wrong sermons. And he was doing so well, until…
Evangelistic meetings, at least here in Japan, are a funny sort of performance art.
Just after writing about Christ as a critical category over our theologies, I turned to the next part of our series through Acts to see what I had to preach on this week. Chapter five, oh yummy. One of the reasons I prefer preaching in series like this is because it keeps me honest, stops me from picking and choosing, and encourages me to deal with passages I would prefer to avoid. I believe that reading the Bible is meant to change you, not just reinforce your existing views, and grappling with the bits you find unpleasant is a necessary part of this.
And they'd be shorter sermons too.
This may be a little too honest for some people.
Familiarity with the Gospels can so often rob us of their revolutionary nature. We know by now that Jesus is the good guy and the Pharisees are the bad guys, and we adjust our expectations of the text accordingly. We don't, on the whole, recognise Jesus' behaviour as radical and socially extraordinary, because the point of the story is that he comes out on top. But at the time, the people watching Jesus really did see “remarkable things”.
It's been a busy few weeks; as I mentioned in my latest newsletter, it's our camp season here, and so I've spent seven days out of the last two weeks at our camp site. I was actually due to spend the next three days there as well, but I remembered the whole stress thing and excused myself from it.
When I preach, I try to believe that God is going to speak to people through what I'm going to say. But I'm always surprised when it actually happens. Sermons are like sausages: (and laws) if you like them, you don't want to see them being produced. At least, they always seem a lot less uplifting for the producer than they're supposed to be for the consumer. In short, I find it hard to get excited about my own sermons. I'm forever picking holes in them. So it was good to hear this story today.
Now I have several blog posts in my head that haven't made it onto disk yet, so I will try and get through them one at a time. First, on preaching.